Solar Power System At West Riverside Wastewater Treatment Plant

Western Riverside County Regional Wastewater Authority, Wells Fargo, and SunPower Corp. have dedicated a 1-megawatt solar power system at the West Riverside Wastewater Treatment Plant in Corona, California. SunPower designed and built the high-efficiency system, and financed the system with Wells Fargo through the $100 million sale leaseback program announced by the companies in June of 2009.

“Solar power systems help public agencies reduce costs and benefit the community by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere,” explained the Authority’s chairperson, Brenda Dennstedt, who is on the board of directors at Western Municipal Water District, an Authority partner. “This system will generate the equivalent of about 25 percent of the power needed to run the wastewater treatment plant, which is also about the same amount of power that would supply roughly 200 homes each year.”

Under the financing program used for the project, SunPower enters into power purchase agreements with qualified customers, and Wells Fargo finances and owns the system that SunPower designs, builds, operates, and maintains. The Authority is buying the electricity at prices that are competitive with retail rates, and benefiting from a long-term hedge against rising power prices. The Authority is not using the environmental claims associated with the system.

On the 9-acre site, SunPower’s solar panels, the most efficient solar panels on the market today, were installed with the SunPower T20 Tracker system. The Tracker follows the sun’s movement during the day, increasing sunlight capture by up to 30 percent over conventional fixed-tilt systems, while significantly reducing land use requirements.

“SunPower offers high performance solar technology and financing expertise that helps customers maximize savings on their electricity expenditures,” said Tom Werner, SunPower’s CEO. “Based on our experience delivering systems and service to more than 20 water agencies in the Western U.S., the Authority can count on the reliability and performance of this SunPower system.”

Western Riverside County Regional Wastewater Authority is a joint powers authority created to plan, construct, and operate a cost effective regional wastewater reclamation treatment and collection system. The agencies that comprise the authority — City of Norco, Home Gardens Sanitary District, Jurupa Community Services District, the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority and Western Municipal Water District — pledge to achieve this mission in a cooperative and coordinated manner to assure full environmental protection and successive beneficial use of the region’s wastewater resources. The WRCRWA plant, a tertiary facility capable of providing reclaimed water for reuse or for discharge through an outfall to the Santa Ana River, was brought online in 1998. It has a design capacity for eight million gallons per day with the capability for expansion to 32 million gallons per day. Wastewater from the City of Norco, Home Gardens Sanitary District, Jurupa Community Services District, and Western is collected
through many miles of pipelines, pumped to the treatment plant, processed, and discharged into the Santa Ana River.

Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company with $1.2 trillion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance through more than 10,000 stores and 12,000 ATMs and the internet across North America and internationally. The Company works with thousands of communities across North America to promote economic self-sufficiency, education, social services, the arts and the environment. Since 2005, Wells Fargo has provided more than $5 billion in financing for greener business opportunities, including more than $1.6 billion of equity investments in wind and solar energy projects in the U.S.

SunPower Corporation designs, manufactures, and delivers high-performance solar electric systems worldwide for residential, commercial, and utility-scale power plant customers. SunPower high-efficiency solar cells and solar panels generate up to 50 percent more power than conventional solar technologies and have a uniquely attractive, all-black appearance. With headquarters in San Jose, California, SunPower has offices in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.

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